Millions.co raises $12.6 million CAD for social commerce platform for athletes

Millions.co lived up to its name on September 14 when the Toronto-based company announced it raised $12.6 million CAD ($10 million USD) in its first round of funding.

Boston-based Volition Capital led the Series A round for the social commerce platform for professional and semi-professional athletes.

“The main reason for this funding is global expansion … This product literally fits with every athlete in the entire world.”
 

Cody Fauser, former CTO of Shopify, and Aydin Mirzee, CEO of Fellow.app, who sold his previous company to Survey Monkey, also invested in the round. The round closed on September 14.

“The main reason for this funding is global expansion,” Millions.co co-founder and CEO Matt Whitteker told BetaKit. “This product literally fits with every athlete in the entire world. It’s like, let’s raise the money quick because it’s a global opportunity.”

The funding will be used for key hires, market expansion, and added program functionality. Whittaker noted the round was oversubscribed.

Millions.co launched in beta in April, and went live in May. “We’ve just seen great traction,” Whitteker said.

“We started looking at the numbers and the interest we were getting from athletes and customers. It seemed really clear we have a huge opportunity in front of us so it’s probably time to raise some money,” he added.

The company of 14 people said, since its launch, it has formed partnerships with thousands of professional athletes and hundreds of National Collegiate Athletic Association athletes, while attracting globally recognized talent such as Quinton “Rampage’ Jackson,” UFC announcer Jon Anik, and MMA legends Bas Rutten and Din Thomas, among others.

Whitteker said he’s pleased about the funding, and not just because of the size of the round. “It’s the investors,” he pointed out. “Violation Capital has about a billion dollars under management and is just such a terrific firm and partner.”

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It’s not the first time Whitteker has received funding from Volition Capital. When Whitteker was previously a co-founder of Ottawa-based Assent Compliance – a enterprise compliance SaaS software and data management solutions company – Violation Capital led a Series A round worth $20 million CAD for that company.

“I’m just pleased to – using a boxing metaphor – be able to do a round two with Volition,” Whittaker said.

Alongside the funding announcement, the company said it also had secured a number of strategic partnerships with several notable sporting agencies. They include sports talent agency CAA Sports; the Professional Fighting League (PFL); and First Round Management.

As well, the company announced the intent to launch its “MILLIONS Gives a MILLION” signing bonus campaign available to all professional, NCAA, and Olympic athletes. The bonus is based on an athlete’s social following, and comes in different tiers up to $5,000 per athlete. To qualify, Olympic, NCAA, and professional athletes must sign up, go live, and make a sale.

Millions.co partners with athletes to share the revenues on transactions. Itenables any athlete to leverage their existing fan base and social media followers to create and control their own revenue streams. The company has three key products, and manages merchandise and e-commerce for athletes.

Whittaker said any athlete can market their brand, and Millions.co will handle everything from inventory to design and creative work. “All they have to do is promote it,” according to Whitteker.

As well, the firm has two video offerings. One is a personalized video platform that allows fans to ask athletes questions. In return, they receive a personalized video back.

The second is Watchstream, which Whitteker said is a new form of podcast where the cameras focus on an athlete and then fans can watch a sporting event alongside them.

“Athletes are always looking for ways to connect on a deeper level with fans, generate additional revenue streams and build their personal brands and MILLIONS offers all of this on a single platform,” said Sean Cantwell, managing partner at Volition Capital. “We think that MILLIONS is the future of fan engagement.”

Image courtesy Millions.co

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in Wired.com, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.